New Delhi:Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday criticised the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government for ignoring tourism industry and advocated the need to frame policies to help the sector.b “I regret to say that earlier governments didn’t make policies which could have increased tourism in the country. In fact, they framed such policies that made tourism sector weak,” Jaitley said after laying the foundation stone of a new building of the tourism ministry.
He said India held huge potential to attract tourists but at the same time there was a need to frame policies in such a way that helped the industry in the future. “The country has the longest sea shore, huge forests, religious places and culture which have the capacity to attract tourists,” he added.
Besides, Jaitley said, there was a need to build more infrastructure, especially airports. “India should increase its airline capacity from 5 to 10 percent to cater to more foreign tourist in the country,” he added.
Highlighting the role of states, Jaitley said for creating strong tourism infrastructure, it was important to take the help of states.
“The new Paryatan Bhawan will now provide a base for working on all aspects of tourism and increasing the potential of tourism in India,” he said.
“The government fully understands the importance of tourism. It is possible for people to discover the cultures of different countries and cultivate respect for them via the medium of tourism,” union Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma said.
“Tourism is the engine of economic growth and we need to increase India’s share in world tourism from 0.68 to 1 percent by 2020 to realise the full potential of this sector. Tourism helps in women empowerment and youth employment,” he added.
Sharma also said that naming the new office complex of the tourism ministry after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay was a real tribute to the visionary leader who talked about integral humanism and antyodaya.
Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Paryatan Bhawan is a tourism ministry project housing a multi-level car parking-cum-office complex.
“The new building will have three storeys apart from the ground floor and two basements meant for stacked car parking. The project is estimated to cost around Rs.150 crore,” an official release said.